The #1 Financial Rule Everyone Should Follow, But Nobody Does

*This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure

As an adult, there are a few things in life (let’s be honest, a LOT of things) that I look back on and think “wow, you were kind of a moron. How in the world are you still alive?”

From the words I said to my everyday actions, my arrogant teenage years and early 20’s were filled with short-sightedness and a seemingly lack of common sense. I seemed to float along, pretending to know about everything, but was somehow clueless that blowing through $100k was a bad ideaโ€ฆ? I also made a habit out of ignoring good advice, and would retort with things like “just let me live”, which actually means “stop showing me how stupid I really am.”

So I know how hard it is to get young adults to pay attention to something that has the potential to COMPLETELY ROCK THEIR WORLD. I bypassed so many pieces of good advice, only to regret it later and realize that there are people out there that know A CRAP LOAD MORE THAN I DO. And that’s a good thing, otherwise I would have to figure out everything that hard way.

So if you’re a young adult who wants to do the money thing right, and only do it once, please listen up.

The One Financial Rule Everyone Should Follow

The 50% Rule Of Spending

Today’s financial rule isn’t something I even had the opportunity to hear about as a kid, though I probably would have dismissed it anyway. But it’s one of those things that would have completely changed the financial trajectory of my life, landing me in a MUCH better place that my current position, and would have created the one thing everyone pursuing financial independence dreams of: CHOICE.

That rule is the 50% Rule Of Spending. And it’s so simple, it hurts. No really.

“Only spend 50% (or less) of your take home pay. Always.”

I can already hear the exasperated sighs. “Or sure, no biggie. I’ll just take my already crappy pay and figure out a way to only use half of it. As soon as I find free housing and free food, I’m set!”

I understand. I’m right there with you. But let’s look at this from the perspective of following this rule from our very first paycheck.

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Case Study: The Kid Who Followed The (50%) Rule

Tommy was an average teenager. He went to school, hung out with friends, played in the marching band and hated his parents taste in music. He didn’t know much about handling money as his parents never really talked about it, except “no, that’s too expensive”, and “stupid government keeps taking all our money!”

But one day through a friend on Facebook, he stumbled across www.iheartbudgets.net and read a post about The 50% Rule. He decided that Jacob character knew what was up with money, and decided to follow his advice.

That summer, he got his first job making $9 an hour at a local grocery store. He averaged about 20 hours per week, and his take home pay per week was about $153. So his monthly income was $612.

Tommy still lived at home, and had almost no expenses. He did want a car at some point, so he decided to save as much as he possibly could. He used his money to occasionally eat out with friends and go to a movie. He allocated himself $30 spending cash per week, and was still able to enjoy all the normal activities a teenager does. He was spending $120 per month (20%).

Tommy had also read Jacob’s posts on how awesome used cars are. So he bought a used 1995 Honda Civic for $1,200 after only 3 months.  But now he had to add insurance and gas to his monthly bills. His parents added his car to their plan, and he paid $80 per month for liability only (teenagers are expensive!). But since he knew the value of financial freedom over driving his car to school every day, he chose to ride the bus or with friends. He only spent $30 per month on gas. He was spending $230 per month (38%).

Tommy finally graduated and joined a local community college. Since his parents didn’t have the extra cash, he paid for his schooling out of pocket. He knew this going into it, and was applied to 2 scholarships a week his senior year. He was awarded enough money to pay for tuition and books. At this point, he got promoted to cashier, making $12 an hour, taking home $816 per month. He still lived at home, which kept his expenses pretty minimal. The allure of freedom from his car had worn off a bit, and he got a bus pass for $80. This kept his gas bill at $30 per month. He was spending $310 per month (38%).

Tommy transferred to a 4-year, in-state college, and obtained scholarships to pay for 75% of his schooling this time. The remaining amount was $3,000 per year. Since he had been saving for the past 4 years, he was able to pay cash for the rest of school, leaving him with no student loans. W00t!*

Having been following the 50% rule helped Tommy build a habit of never having to touch half of the money he earned. He had even set up an automatic transfer of 50% of his paycheck to go directly to his Vanguard investment account. But now he was about to get a “real job” and move out, reality was about to kick him in the teeth!

Tommy didn’t really care. Being the smart cookie that he is, he got a degree in a technology field, and was able to land a job at a large company for a whopping $45,000 per year. BOOM! With health insurance and taxes, his take home pay was $3,000 per month. But now he had to fend for himself on $1,500 per month (or less). He’s screwed.

50% of Income: $1,500
Rent: $500
Food: $150 (without ever shopping by using eMeals)
Utilities: $100
Cell Phone: $25 per month (from Republic Wireless)
Car Insurance: $80
Internet: $40
Bus Pass: $80
Gas: $30
Spending Cash: $120
Gifts/Misc: $50
Total: $1,175 (39%)

The 50% Rule Is Possible, And Should Be Required!

Tommy has absolutely no debt and is living on less than 40% of his take home pay. He is enjoying life, has plenty of spending cash, and is building a life toward financial freedom that most people can only dream of.

There’s no magic here, just a commitment to use artificial scarcity to achieve some lofty financial goals. But where does it go from here? The sky is the limit.

According to Mr. Money Mustache, if Tommy keeps his expenses low, he can retire in like 12 years! Or he can buy a $150,000 house WITH CASH in 5 years.

The point is, by following this painfully simple rule, Tommy has the choice to do most anything he wants to do at a VERY young age. Retired in his mid-30’s, Tommy can pursue whatever passion he wants without any financial worry, because he has taken care of business since that first paycheck hit his hands.

This rule should be REQUIRED for anyone to understand before receiving a paycheck. The power of building good money habits early can have tremendous impact on your financial future.

What About Me?

This is the same question I’m asking myself. I wish I would have read this post when I got my first job at age 16 as well. Even now, I am spending much more than 50% of my income, and am in discussion with my wife about how we can build a lifestyle to allow us to follow this rule. Mostly, it includes moving, lowering my recurring expenses a little more and increasing income.

So what about you? Are you working toward getting to this place? What would it take to spend less than 50% of your take-home pay? What would you have to change in your budget to get there?

*Yes, this is a mighty big assumption. But if Tommy is diligent enough to live on less than half his income, he is also diligent enough to apply to 2 scholarships per week and pay for school in its entirety. There are literally hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars of scholarship opportunities, Tommy is just grabbing his piece of the pie.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post, only to products I recommend to help save some serious cash. If you decide to sign up through my link, I do receive a commission. Any and all support is truly appreciated.

photo credit: joepopp and Alex France via photopin cc

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites.ย 
Heโ€™s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

72 thoughts on “The #1 Financial Rule Everyone Should Follow, But Nobody Does”

  1. We do save 50% of our income MOST OF THE TIME. Sometimes we save a little more, but sometimes, like this month, we’re saving a little less. I think that 50% is a great goal and that is what we personally strive for.

    • Nice work, Holly. I know it’s not actually “EASY”, but it’s so simple, and opens up a world of choices. 50% is a goal that I am shooting for, but need to make some major changes in the next 5 years to hit it.

  2. I would absolutely love to get to the point of saving 50% of my income. I did this while living with my parents and throughout college. I was lucky as my first car was a hand-me-down from my mom, so I drove that for a year before it died. I went to community college for a year and then transferred, and graduated early. I still have student loans, though. Unfortunately, rent is eating most of my money, which is why I’d like to move somewhere more affordable!

    • Can you move? If you could cut your rent in half, would it be worth it?

      Saving 50% of your income is as simple as rearranging your budget to make it work. It’s not easy, but it is simple ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. We spend about 50% give or take of our take home pay and the rest is saved and/or invested which has worked out to our advantage over the years. It wasn’t easy but we did it but not with some ups and downs. There’s always a learning curve and once you find it the rest is history.

  4. Living on 50% is a great goal to have. It’s my goal for this year although I’m thinking of bumping that up a bit. I hit a 53% savings rate in January counting only savings earmarked for investment so that’s a great start to the year. I’d love to get it up to 60% by the end of the year and with a bit more expense watching/lowering and higher income I think it’ll be possible.

  5. 50% is a great goal. I’m not sure we’ll hit that unless you count money that goes toward rental properties as savings, which I think I could make an argument for ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the kid in this scenario would be super smart. However, I don’t know any high school kid who would willingly ride the bus if they had a running vehicle!

    • If you’re paying down principal, I’d say that counts! And yeah, I’m trying to write more articles showing how AWESOME it is to save a TON while you can at a young age, and how you can still enjoy life at the same time. But convincing a kid to ride the bus with a car may be a tough battle….maybe carpooling with friends? That’s what I did.

  6. We easily saved 50% or more of our income when we were both working. We just always lived off of one income. With just my husband working, 30% is the best we can do. Paying off our student loans will help with that since they currently eat up about 18% of his take-home pay. Right now, all non-retirement savings goes to paying down the student loan debt.

    I am a big believer in the maxim “a penny saved is a penny earned,” but there is a point that you can’t frugal things down anymore. For instance, I keep grocery spending at about $200 a month, but I can’t consistently do less than that without the three of us forgoing fruits and vegetables.

    The key for us has been me finding a way to bring in a little money. I watch another baby one to two days a week and that brings our savings up to about 40%- more on months that I watch him more. Having another baby to watch isn’t easy, but it is easier than finding a job outside the home and paying for childcare.

    My husband’s hours are very long and unpredictable. If he worked a regular nine to five job, I would have found something at night a couple of days a week. My sister-in-law stays home with eighteen month old twins and waitresses a couple nights a week. She says it is a nice break, dealing with people who can tell you what they want and her customers almost never throw food or cry.

    • You’re set once that debt is gone, well done! And yeah, I hear you. We’re pretty bare noes in most areas as well. Mostly, it’s our mortgage holding us back from hitting a large savings number.

      • Are you planning to sell and buy another house with a smaller mortgage? Or will you sell and rent something for awhile?

        Our mortgage is really low, so that helps a lot.

  7. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all kids left home this money smart? What a huge difference it would make! And I absolutely believe that if you work hard you can earn enough scholarships to cover the majority of your higher education costs. My husband applied for every scholarship that he could find (this is pre-Internet days!) and only had to pay for a small portion of his college education. It takes patience and work โ€ฆ but paying off big student debt takes a lot of work too.

    • You’re husband is awesome! This was something I regretfully neglected as well, and still have $9k in student loans we’re trying to kill this year. UGH!

      And yes, I would LOVE to build a nation of young adults who are debt free and living on half their income. What and amazing impact they could have on our world!

  8. I have not hit this goal, but I am working towards it. My challenge as many people’s challenge in achieving this is setting fixed costs too high. For me, it’s my mortgage (but I pay more for a better school district for my son). If you plan in advance, though, with the 50% number, then you will force yourself to find cheaper living arrangements, car payments, etc. I counsel people to beware of tacking on fixed costs that will keep you from achieving your financial goals.

    • I’m in a similar situation, Erin. 4 months ago, I committed 50% of my income to debt repayment, forcing me to cut my spending down a lot.
      I’m knocking down the credit cards quickly, and it feels great! When they are done, I’ll put 25% of income to student loans and 25% to savings. At that rate, I’ll have the student loans paid off in 2.5 years, then I’ll do 50% savings.

  9. I spend less than 50% (about 45-50 depending on the month). This is if I include my 401K deductions back into my take home pay. Savings is savings! I also do not consider my student loan payments as spending, so my debt repayment is about 22% of my take home as well.

  10. I’m nowhere near adhering to this rule…..but I’d love to get there. I’m officially making it my financial goal to get there. It will take time, and it will take hard work and discipline but I know I can do it. I know a little something about achieving difficult goals. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. This year we should be over 50% pretty comfortably if all goes well! We had some bad real estate “investments” that weighed things down for a while…

    It would be remarkable if everyone actually did come close to following this rule — there would be a whole lot less financial stress in this country.

  12. It’s a laudable goal, and I do realize it’s just a hypothetical scenario, but there are quite a few expenses missing from the guy’s grown-up budget. Clothing, medical/dental, eyeglasses, haircuts, shampoo/deodorant etc., furniture etc for setting up his apartment, car maintenance and repairs, and utilities come to mind. I also think $150/mo is unrealistic unless he’s dumpster diving or hitting up the food bank, at least where I live. Cost of a bus pass is $100 where I live, unless you live far out of town (where rent is cheaper), then it’s $123. Maybe his folks are still helping out while he gets established.

    Still, I do applaud the aspiration to save 50%. We’re trying to hit 20% on much higher income than this.

    • Here’s how I would approach those expenses:

      Clothing: Not needed. See THIS POST
      Medical/Dental/Eyecare: Pre-tax, paid by job (accounted for in take-home pay calculation)
      Haircuts/Household items: Covered in Misc. costs.
      Car Maintenance: read THIS POST. Covered in Misc. cost.
      Furniture: Check out THIS POST. And craigslist has free stuff all the time. Plus there are now Facebook groups giving away this locally all the time (i.e. freecycle)
      Utilities: Covered in original post budget.

      And $150 per month for food for a single guy is absolutely realistic. We ate like royalty on $240 a month when first married. And I used to live on $120 per month just before that. Meal planning is key!

      • The $150/mth for food being realistic depends on location- I manage about 2/3rds of that but a friend of mine in another city (farther north) pays easily twice it.
        As for the Medical/Dental/Eyecare being covered by his job: I wish. That is not the case a large number of people even in high-paying fields.

  13. We are a little high right now, but after we sell our home and get another one that I have budgeted for, then we will be there. It does take a lot more work when you don’t use this rule from the start, but it can still be achieved.

  14. I think the 50% rule is an excellent one. Sadly, here in the UK living expenses are so high in comparison to average salaries that most people (myself included) will struggle with it.

    That’s not to say I’m not giving it my best shot! I’ve been aggressively paying down debt while increasing my income which has “widened the gap” considerably over the last few months. By April I expect my rate to be around 40%, but increasing over time now pretty much all my consumer debt is gone.

    My goal in the next 12-18 months is to raise that rate to 75% – it’s a fun goal to track and it’s helping to keep me motivated. And a 75% savings rate means retirement (or at least financial freedom) in a very short space of time according to MMM’s chart ๐Ÿ™‚

    Question: what’s your rate at Jacob?

  15. I just wrote a post about how I could hypothetically live off 50% of my income. It requires downsizing, which I’m not ready to do, but it could be done. However, through the process, I realized that by the third quarter of this year, I should be able to save 34% – so I’m getting closer to that 50%!

  16. Great post! I will have to show this to my 13 year old nephew – Last year I showed him how compound interest works, and he thought that was pretty awesome. LOL I like that this is written with a young person starting out with a part-time job as an example, which is where he will be in a couple years.

    It’s hard to find examples that are relatable to a kid.

  17. I love your enthusiasm buddy! To get to the 50% rule I want to buy a duplex, live in half of it, and rent the other side out. That combined with my other rentals could get me almost all the way there. Kicking it up a notch on my side hustles should fill in those other gaps! Thanks for the challenge.

  18. We’re just about there, and can I say it’s odd how similar this ‘Tommy’ guy’s budget at $1,500 a month is to ours? Ha, we’re definitely on track with the poor recent grad budget… We’ll hopefully be at the 50/50 by April when our student loans are gone! Hallelujah. Can’t wait to see how life shifts at that point.

  19. Just gotta say, we’re currently living off less than 1/3 of our net income – killing that mortgage – BUT, when we were young and had student loans, car loans, growing babies, etc – there were times when we literally could NOT live off a fraction of our take home pay. We just couldn’t – literally. We needed every dime we made to feed our kids and pay the bills. Maybe you guys are a lot wealthier than we were at your age or maybe you’re just more disciplined (altho I doubt that ’cause we were living below the poverty level and not taking a dime of welfare).

    Do you guys ever worry that you’re scaring the crap out of people your age with all this “live on a fraction of your income” blogs when so many your age are still struggling to even get a decent job? Just wondering.

    • Jim, thanks for the reality check. Yeah, it could definitely seem intimidating to those who are just getting by, and that’s part of the reason I wrote a follow-up post. Check it out HERE

      But I like the idea of setting an aggressive savings goal, because I find when I have less to work with, I get more creative with what I have. My wife and I were just discussing last night about upcoming expenses, and how it will dent our savings rate, but then talking about alternative options for less cost, but still get what we want out of it. Things such as preschool, swim lessons, etc. are coming up, and we’re looking into creative ways to pay for those.

      But yes, I do agree people should not be scared of saving a lot, but motivated to find ways to get there and still enjoy life to the fullest. Quite the challenge, but a good challenge builds character and helps us think outside the traditional American box ๐Ÿ™‚

      Glad to hear things are still going steady with the mortgage!

  20. Good advice but hard to follow. I currently have no debt and other than taxes, insurance, and minor monthly expenses minimized all my recurring expenses. I own all my vehicles and my house – Part of my plan to eliminate debt and minimize recurring expenses – I do regularly spend more than 50% of my take home since I buy a lot of things (toys I guess you’d say). Even if his case study worked he still couldn’t retire in his 30’s. That’s just when medical, etc. expenses begin and he’ll be making .05% annually on that money so it won’t grow. Good in principal but the case studies are un-realistic.

  21. I had a good chuckle when I read this article because my son who is 20 years old is doing this very same thing. He works grocery store, lives at home, community college, owns a 94 dodge neon and puts away 50% of his paycheck every two weeks. Other than the Vanguard I can say he is living this same life as I’m typing. After all this expense he has some 11kish sitting in the bank and we are planning on opening a Vanguard soon.

    Will he save like this the rest of his life? Not sure only time will tell but I do believe that after some time he will have more good habits then bad when it comes to spending. I laugh when my friends say its impossible to save any money at all when they make more then double his wages and here is a kid with more money in the bank than they could ever possibly dream of.

    I’m just going to add that my son does go out and eat a lot, plays video games, owns a smart phone (republic wireless) and pays his bills with only 50%. In the summer we do a bunch of disc golf as a hobby so its not like he suffers and can’t do any thing. He’s not the kind of young man that needs to hit the mall and own $100 pairs of jeans and shoes. Pretty simple guy when it comes to the vanity items.

    • Well done, Jay. Sounds like he has a great role model to show him the ropes and help curb the addiction of luxury at a young age. Hearing someone who is saving 50% always sounds crazy, but when you break it down, it really is all about choices.

  22. I work as an Engineer on a very ordinary salary. Over the last 5 years, I’ve spent on average 35.1% of my post tax salary & have a great lifestyle.

  23. 50% of income is a great goal. We have been building on this over time (continual optimization ;-)) and just hit 59% this past year (pretty happy about that) I think the % savings of take home (adding back in retirement savings etc that gets taken out on both sides of the equation) is probably a better number to care about for FI. Especially if you are dealing with higher taxes or donating a significant amount of money (based on your income).

    • Nice work! 59% is a great place to be. And I agree, continual optimization is key. I’m working on cutting my recurring expenses to the BONE this year, and getting my savings rate up quite a bit!

      And yes, I think the goal of 50% after tax spending is an aggressive goal, but if it can be done AND you’re maxing out tax efficient accounts, then you’ll hit FI MUCH quicker!

      • I know it’s very bullish, but cost of living in Sydney ain’t exactly cheap.

        I’m aiming for $10m for the following reasons:
        – If I convert it to cash, I can achieve roughly a 5% return = $500k
        – $500k in today’s money is approximately $250k
        – I want to lead a better life in retirement than I live now (even though I have a very good life now)
        – I only want to spend my cashflow and not draw down my capital

  24. My family and I would be spending much less than 50% if we weren’t in so much debt (dumb mistakes of our college years). We’re slowly paying it down, but only have my income to do so. The margin I make over our total expenses is so low that our debt paydown is going at a snail’s pace. I don’t really know what to do. Once we get even our consumer debt paid off, we’ll be able to catch up quickly with how frugal we currently are. It’s just going to take a long time to get there…

  25. I think some of the 50% rule works however depending on where you live and what you do… and your living situation.

    Sometimes something like Rent is a heck of alot more than $500. Where we live (we’re lucky enough to have a house) people who rent pay a minimum of $1200 for a single bedroom apartment or house. Most places don’t include utilities either. at minimum wage here…equals about 50% of some people’s take home pay

    Heat alone up here in the winter for one month the last few months has be over $600 dollars, Power has been around $300. We aren’t heavy power users – lights get turned off when we leave a room, appliances are only plugged in when we use them. The heat tends to sit at about 18 degrees Celsius – Propane recently went up to 3.69 a litre which acutally doubled in price from what it was last year our bills were NOT 600 a month. We do have a deep freeze (new and Energy Efficient) Between power and heat thats $900 a month which right there is 34% of my take home pay. We dont go on crazy spending sprees, we budget carefully but i do only manage to put a bout 10% of my take home pay in savings for now.

    We like where we live we both like our jobs but the expense of living in the north does make it very close to impossible to only live on half the take home pay.

    • You can do it! I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where rents and housing prices are one of the highest in the country( sometimes hitting the #1spot some years)! If we can do it then anyone can do it!
      Right now we are living still off one income and I am no longer working – we do it on an average job. We have to shift priorities that we want to make life easier for ourselves. Many of my friends also paid off our houses early and they are teachers, bus drivers, etc so not high paying jobs and they did it by being frugal and saving! So it can be done!

  26. YES!!! I lived off half our income! When we married we lived off one income and banked the other! Not only does it save you money but it also helps since you lived off one income just in case one person gets hurt like what happened to me and you still can survive! This allowed us to pay off our house early, retire early and automatically spend below our means! Great post and this is the advice I give to those starting out and newlyweds!

    • Thanks for sharing EllenMarie! That’s awesome you were able to save throughout your entire life and have it lead to early retirement. Building those great habits early gives you a powerful head start on wealth building, as well as contentment to keep lifestyle inflation down and happiness up ๐Ÿ™‚ Well done!

      Would love to hear more of your story, shoot me an email at iheartbudgets :at: gmail :dot: com

    • It’s amazing to think about how we can change our financial family tree and give them such a great head start. Congrats on your debt payoff journey, even if it’s long, will be SO worth it, especially once it’s gone and you’re paying all that extra money to yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Hmmm. I wish I had heard this advice as a teen, too. Unfortunately, it may not have helped.

    I started “working” at age 10 as a babysitter, then moved up to a waitressing job at age 14. I grew up in poverty with a single mother. We- like the above commenter- often went without fruits or vegetables if we wanted our “budget” to work. We came up with crazy ways to make our money stretch, but some nights, we still went without dinner.

    I worked to help support my family and to take the burden off my mom. Without 100% of my income, I don’t want to think about where we would have been.

    Had I attempted to not take out student loans, I would have not attended college. Many scholarships, as I found out, only pay for the amount of tuition you cannot cover through loans. In fact, I had multiple grants and scholarships and still would d up with over $20,000 in college debt. Additionally, this was before the time of online courses and I could not have lived at home and commuted without sacrificing a part-time job and/or a ton of money in gas and vehicle upkeep.

    The problem with most fiancial advice is that it assumes you are able to afford to live in your area on the income you have and that you have other options availabel to you. Remember, there is a huge population of people in this country who live on less than 24,000 annually. Even in the poorest of states, that is simply not enough to only spend half of your income for an average family.

    I am happy to say both my mother and I have worked our way from poverty to upper middle class and we continue to live frugally and learn about money. However, rules like these can really only be “rules” if you assume that the person in question is not already living in poverty. I wish that more financial advice was geared towards finding out how to be creative with each individual’s unique situation rather than making arbitrary “rules.” Anyone in the US CAN fight their way out of poverty, but it is not at all simple and most often does not involve following across the board rules which may be completely unobtainable for people who need the financial guidance the most.

    • I agree, rules suck. But financial rules or “principals” are there as a benchmark, people need to apply as they can to their situation. Personalized advice for your specific situation is called having a “Financial Adviser”, and isn’t cheap ๐Ÿ™

      I also think people have limiting beliefs that need to be challenged. Saying you “can’t” save 50% isn’t true. In many cases, you just won’t choose to because you can’t justify that big of a life change.

      You say “The problem with most financial advice is that it assumes you are able to afford to live in your area on the income you have “….why is “your area” a given? Why can’t you move? Why is it an assumption that you need to be able to afford to stay put. If you can’t, you need to find somewhere you can afford.

      I think you can take any advice and make it negative, or you can use it for its intended purpose, to inspire you to climb out of your current situation.

      I’m sorry if it was demotivating to you, it’s been inspiring to many others.

      Maybe this advice isn’t geared toward you or others in poverty. I’m fine with that. I’ve written other pieces to those who are struggling tremendously….this isn’t one of them.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, and continue to challenge the rules, especially the ones in your mind that can limit you from truly achieving all you’re capable of.

      • Moving isn’t always possible- for example, if I moved I’d have to switch universities and lose what scholarships I do have- and is a major expense. The loss of family/friend support (crucial when you’re just barely keeping your head above water) and of a job, plus the costs of moving, is prohibitive for a lot of people.

  28. This is soooo unrealistic for my family! I’m a stay at home mom of 5. My husband works industrial construction.. We barely make it most months. I can’t work as I suffer several autoimmune diseases. To say our life sucks financially is a colossal understatement! Now my poor hubby has developed gout, ugh. He misses weeks of work at a time every year. I do my very best to keep us all as healthy as possible and able to function. Articles like this just make me want to cry…. Maybe someday I’ll be healthy enough to contribute financially to my family… Faith and grit keep us going until then.

    • Sorry to hear about the struggles, I know how stressful that can be. Don’t worry about saving 50% right now. There are more pressing needs.

      Check out THIS POST where I outline steps to take to a single mother who can barely put food on the table. Hope that helps.

  29. it works for students, it works for people still living at their parents home. It will not work in nyc where the rent i pay is 1500 and make no more than 2000 a month


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